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Sainsbury Outshines Tesco with Quarterly Sales Rise

Chris Whitehead | Digital Vision | Getty Images

J Sainsbury, Britain's No. 3 supermarket chain, met forecasts for underlying sales growth in its first quarter, outperforming major rivals with an outcome driven by growth online and in convenience stores.

The group, which trails market leader Tesco and No. 2 player Wal-Mart's Asda by annual revenue, said on Wednesday that sales at stores open over a year rose 0.8 percent, excluding fuel, in the 12 weeks to June 8.

That was a 34th consecutive quarter of underlying sales growth and compared to analysts' forecasts of a rise of 0.6 to 2 percent.

Sainsbury's performance was significantly ahead of a first-quarter like-for-like sales fall of 1 percent at Tesco and a 1.8 percent decline at No.4 grocer Wm Morrison, albeit for different trading periods.

However, it did represent a slowdown from growth of 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter of the 2012-13 year.

The slowdown mainly reflected comparisons with an extra bank holiday last year to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee.

Sainsbury's total first quarter sales rose 3.3 percent, excluding fuel.

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